Hi my name is Ron Hansen and I am 53 and married to Lynda, dad to Katharine (Kate) and Sarah and son to Gary and Beverly Hansen. As a native Californian I was fortunate to grow up in such a supportive and loving family. My two younger brothers, like me, were very active especially in sports. As a youth our dad would coach us in just about every sport we played. Even to this day when I talk with friends or just acquaintances who were coached by my dad, they would say things like, “your dad is the reason I love baseball” or “he taught me how to hit a curve ball” or my favorite “your dad always coached with such a positive attitude making me a better player and more importantly a better person”.
When I think about my dad I have such great memories. He was all about family. He lost his mom when he was about 12 or 13 and was thrust into a difficult family dynamic with his dad remarrying a woman that was not all that supportive of my dad and his sister. He vowed to make sure that his family would be filled with love, laughter and togetherness.
It is no surprise to anyone that my dad was instrumental in my life. He was a great role model and mentor. My dad always wanted his boys to go to college, something he did not do. But despite his lack of formalized education he was a self-made and very successful small business owner. His drive and personality made for a great combination for a successful company. He would always say when he hired someone, come and work “WITH” me and not “FOR” me. This may have been work but he treated his employees as if they were family.
As one could imagine when my dad was first diagnosed with LBD, we were in disbelief. It has to be something else. He was in great shape, no issues from years of working in the asbestos & insulations trade and yet he was losing his memory and ultimately his independence.
I think the biggest hurdle for my dad was losing that independence. Shortly after my dad’s diagnosis I decided to change companies allowing me to travel less and be closer to home and with my dad. During this time, my brothers and I took my dad on one of our most memorable trips. We took my dad to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. You see, my dad was a semi-professional baseball player and had never been to the “Holy Grail” of baseball history. It was the perfect trip as the four sons were able to bond with our father. It’s a trip that we will always cherish and never forget.
After my dad’s passing I knew I wanted to do something to honor his memory. The problem was I just didn’t know how or what to do. Then one day it came to me. Why don’t I combine what I love, cycling, with the Lewy Body Association and create a ride to raise money and bring awareness.
So that is what I have done. I am riding from Eugene OR to Lafayette, CA (My Dad’s Home town and mine too). 700 miles in 10 days.
My hope is that the awareness and money I raise will help find a cure for this tragic disease. Personally, this journey will be therapeutic for me. I have had to come to grips with not being able to see or talk to my dad anymore, I still have a lot of unanswered questions about my life and am I doing everything I can to be the best person I can be.